THE Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee [PAC] is seeking information from the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board [IHRB] on why the authority has not yet installed close circuit cameras [CCTV] in the stableyards of all 26 racecourses.

The absence of CCTV at almost all tracks was highlighted after the doping of a horse at Tramore in 2018, a case which saw trainer Charles Byrnes banned for six months last year for his role in facilitating the doping by leaving his horse unattended.

At this time last year Horse Racing Ireland [HRI] said it would provide funding for the installation of CCTV cameras in the stable yards at every racecourse, with tender documents to be “published shortly by the IHRB”.

However, last month the interim CEO of the IHRB, Cliodhna Guy, informed the PAC that the procurement processs “has not yet concluded” and that the timeline for installation of the cameras was “not yet clear”.

PAC chairman and Sinn Fein TD Brian Stanley said: “It appears to be dragging on. The progress in the past four or five years on this has been glacier-like to say the least.”

His Sinn Fein colleague Imelda Munster, TD for Louth, added: “We were previously told that the IHRB had given an undertaking to complete it prior to the commencement of the 2022 season. At that time, I got the impression that it would be good to go for January. It seems to be the case that the IHRB is prolonging the situation. I do not find this acceptable and I would like that expressed to the IHRB.”

Deputy Stanley concluded: “It defies me as to why it is taking so long. We will seek an explanation for the delays. We will ask for a timeline for putting cameras in place.”

Asked for comment, an IHRB spokesperson told The Irish Field: “Once the procurement process was complete and letters had issued with the result to successful and unsuccessful correspondence, a number of bidders had queries and legal correspondence was received from one.

“On the basis of legal advice we delayed awarding the contract until those matters were resolved. However, the extension expired this week and, in the absence of further legal correspondence, we expect to be in a position to award the contract next week and can now move the project forward as quickly as possible.”